Sir Peter Jackson is a filmmaker famed for pushing boundaries and his latest creation, The Hobbit, will be no exception.
The acclaimed Kiwi director has revealed the much-anticipated prequel to the Lord of the Rings will go where no film has gone – into the realm of ultra fast film speed.
For almost a century films have been shot at 24 frames per second, enough to allow reasonably smooth and seamless viewing for most shots.
The Hobbit, however, will use 48 frames per second, a considerably more expensive option that Jackson promises “looks
much more life-like, and it is much easier to watch, especially in 3-D”.
“It looks great, and we’ve actually become used to it now, to the point that other film experiences look a little primitive,” the director said on his Facebook page.
This “hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness” eradicates the “blurring” or “strobing” effect seen when the camera pans or moves quickly, he said in his blog.
He predicted many film purists will criticise the shift but he assured them they would adjust easily, and signalled it was the way the film world was heading.
“It’s similar to the moment when vinyl records were supplanted by digital CDs,” Jackson said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re heading towards movies being shot and projected at higher frame rates.”
He’s not the only convert. Last month, director James Cameron announced he too was planning to shoot his sequel to Avatar at a higher frame rate.
Jackson said his decision would “future proof” the $US50 million ($A47.71 million) two-film production, one of the most costly and widely-anticipated Hollywood releases of all time.
The problem, however, is whether theatres will be able to update screening technology in time for the first film’s release in December 2012.
Jackson said he was “hopeful that there will be enough theatres capable of projecting 48 frames per second by the time The Hobbit comes out” but conceded “we don’t yet know what the reality will
Practicalities aside, Jackson fans are clearly thrilled by the development, with 2700 “liking” his status update and hundreds adding comments commending his pioneering abilities.
Filming for the blockbusters started in the New Zealand capital Wellington in March. It was a late start for the films which have suffered a series of setbacks including an actors’ boycott, studio
funding problems and Jackson’s stomach ulcer.
British actor Martin Freeman will play the film’s unlikely hero, adventurous hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Cate Blanchett, Sir Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Andy Serkis will also star in the movies, as will Flight of the Conchords co-star Bret McKenzie.